Monday, June 27, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...6-28-'11
- Restoration work is nearly complete on Williamson’s historic Coal House which was built in 1933 from 65 tons of Mingo County coal. The 1,600-square-foot structure was severely damaged by fire in October 2010. The home of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce is owned by the Mingo County Commission. Leigh Ann Ray, grants coordinator and project manager for the Commission, says work on the interior should be complete in early July. The final aspect of the restoration project will be replacing the custom arched entry. Bids are due July 20th with construction expected to take four to six weeks. The Commission had a $187,000 insurance policy on the structure, and the Chamber had an additional $28,000 policy on the contents. Ray says the coverage will be approximately $120,000 less than actual replacement costs. The Coal House was included on the National Register of Historical Places in 1980.
- The state Mine Safety Office says Joseph Cassell, 33, of Glen Daniel, in Raleigh County, the crew leader at the Rhino Eastern LLC Eagle #1 Mine, was killed early Monday morning. Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere says Cassell was shoveling along the wall to set roof support timbers when he was struck by a 100-inch high, 32-foot long piece of the wall. The accident happened at about 1:00 A.M. in the #4 South section of the mine. The company, the state Mine Safety Office and MSHA are conducting a joint investigation. The mine is owned by Lexington, Ky.-based Rhino Resource Partners. Cassell is the seventh coal mining fatality in the U.S. this year.
- Larry Holstein, 44, and Grant McGuire II, 49, two former West Virginia Division of Highways employees accused of selling drugs to undercover officers, pleaded guilty Monday to distribution of Hydrocodone. Holstein admitted he sold Hydrocodone at a home near East Bank in Kanawha County on March 12th, and McGuire admitted to selling the drugs less than two weeks later at a DOH garage in Chelyan. Each face up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine when sentenced on September 28th.
- Mark Johnson, 20, of Charleston, pleaded guilty Monday to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Police say, in December 2010, officers with an arrest warrant for Johnson found him hiding in the attic of a Charleston home. During the arrest, police found a loaded .22-caliber pistol, which Johnson admitted was his. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced October 3rd.
- Alicia Ciccarelli, 25, of Weirton, West Virginia, was sentenced in federal court Monday to five months probation after pleading guilty in March to aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute heroin in the Charleston area. Police say Ciccarelli was pulled over by officers near Charleston after picking up two associates near Pittsburgh. She admitted to knowing that Rahman Terry, one of the two associates, had heroin on him at the time. During the traffic stop, Terry pulled an item containing 55 individual packets of heroin from a duffel bag and tossed it into some bushes on the side of the road.
- Administrators announced Monday that Cabell Huntington Children’s Hospital has been accepted as a full voting member of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions. Dr. Joe Werthammer with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit says the elite new membership will enable them to move forward and recruit the personnel needed to really become a state-of-the-art children's hospital. The hospital has already raised $10 million of its $12 million goal to build a separate children’s hospital. Children's hospital organizers are still accepting donations toward the final $12 million goal.
- Four county school systems in West Virginia will share more than $21 million in funding from the state School Building Authority. The SBA met Monday morning at University High School just outside of Morgantown to reallocate more than $21 million now available after two counties, Harrison and Upshur, failed to pass school bond issues. The SBA handed out millions of dollars in April. SBA Executive Director Mark Manchin says there just wasn't enough money to go around. The allocations went to Jackson County, $8 million for a new Kenna Elementary School, Mingo County, $3 million for renovations to Riverside Elementary School, Mercer County, $5 million for Oakvale Elementary Elementary School and Putnam County, $4 million for additions and renovations at Winfield Elementary School with an additional $2 million to come later. The additional money will come from a school project at Winfield Middle School that is already underway and coming in under budget.
- An early morning mobile home fire in Beckley led to the arrest of a Beaver man. According to Raleigh County Sheriff's Deputies, a device was thrown through the window of a home at 110 Megan Circle in Beckley Monday morning. The device caused a fire in the home of Carrie Good, 29, and Michael Shivley, 34, while they were inside. Good's ex-boyfriend, Justin Sullivan, 22, was arrested. He has been charged with one count of first degree arson and two counts of attempted first degree murder. Sullivan is being held in the Southern Regional Jail, in lieu of $250,000 bond. Beaver, Bradley and Mabscott Volunteer fire fighters battled the blaze for just over two hours.
- The state Public Service Commission will make a decision later this week on a rate hike request from Appalachian and Wheeling power companies which are seeking a 9.5 percent increase as part of a case to recover costs from the 2008 purchase of coal. Testimony in a May hearing before the PSC focused on a phase-in plan after the PSC agreed to spread the increase over a four-year period. The current case is the third in four years. As part of the phase in plan, rates went up 12 percent in 2009 and 8.2 percent in 2010. The largest customers of the companies could pay up to 12 percent more in the current case. The PSC will likely announce its decision sometime Thursday, June 30th. American Electric Power is the parent company of both Appalachian and Wheeling power.
- The Fourth of July holiday is just days away, and the American Red Cross is hoping people think red.
-Beckley (At the Inez Brown Donor Center)
-Beaver: 9 a.m. until 3 p.m, at the Beaver Brake Supply
-Grandview: noon until 6 p.m. at the Grandview Christian Church
- Mount Hope: noon until 7 p.m. at the Crossroads Mall
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